University alumni's purchase of university licensed merchandise : exploring the reasoning behind purchase decisions Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/d504rn54b

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  • Generating annual revenue of over $4 billion dollars (The Collegiate Licensing Company, n.d.), the collegiate licensing presents a potential market that both apparel companies and universities can benefit from. While the collegiate licensing business is expected to increase financial resources for the participating universities and textiles and apparel companies, little is known as to why people buy university licensed merchandise. Recently university alumni have been recognized as a substantial source of financial support for university (McAlexander, Koenig, & Schouten, 2006). In order to fill a gap in the current literature on collegiate licensing, the purpose of this study was to determine key factors influencing university alumni's purchase decisions of university licensed merchandise. Using the theoretical framework of Social Identity Theory (Hogg, 2006) as well as the Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein, 1975), this study aimed to examine the relationships among level of identification with a university, integration with brand community, attitude toward purchasing university licensed merchandise, subjective norm, fan loyalty, and purchase behavior of university licensed merchandise. Online survey methods were used to examine the university alumni's purchasing behavior of university licensed merchandise. Recruitment emails containing the survey information and the link to the survey were sent to approximately 3,000 randomly selected Oregon State University alumni from the Alumni Association. A total of 189 university alumni of Oregon State University participated in the online survey. The results showed that level of identification was positively related to brand community and also to attitude toward purchasing university licensed merchandise. Integration with brand community was positively related to subjective norm and attitude. Furthermore, brand community was a significant mediator of the relationship between level of identification and attitude. As hypothesized, fan loyalty was positively correlated with attitude. Attitude and subjective norm were found to be significant predictors of purchase behavior. These findings provide empirical evidence to support the importance of understanding why university alumni purchase university licensed merchandise. Level of identification university alumni have towards the university they attended affected their integration into a brand community and their attitude toward purchasing university licensed merchandise. Integration into a brand community was also found to be a mediator between level of identification and attitude. Results also showed that brand community has an effect on attitude and subjective norm. Purchase behavior was found to be influenced by attitude and subjective norm. Results showed that fan loyalty was influenced by subjective norm. Both retailers and those in charge of licensing at universities will benefit from this information. Understanding why university alumni purchase university licensed merchandise will help to target a market with a large amount of buying power, benefitting both the retailers and the universities financially. Future research in these areas will add to the currently growing research regarding university licensed merchandise.
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